Shannon Brandt's mission had failed--spectacularly. Instead of arresting AWOL Ranger Rafe Lyons, the merciless commando had kidnapped her--a tough, experienced FBI agent. Worse, she'd agreed to a deal with the devil and promised to help Rafe recover his abducted niece.
Before long, her promise becomes a wrenching ethical dilemma. If she breaks the law to reunite a family, she'll ruin her career and dishonor her family. But if she plays it by the book, an innocent life may be lost. To further complicate her decision, Shannon finds herself falling for the arrogant, abrasive--but undeniably attractive--commando...even though this dangerous mission might lead to both their deaths.
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May 31, 2011
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Excerpt from Capturing the Commando by Colleen Thompson
Tampa, Florida August 21, 7:20 a.m.
He had her dead to rights.
Maybe dead, in fact, too, Shannon Brandt realized as a deep voice warned, "Don't move," and something hard jammed into her back. The barrel of a handgun? All from a passerby she'd barely noticed as she hurried to the corner breakfast joint where the rest of her team was already positioned, ready to make the grab. The tall white male, face mostly hidden by the brim of a goofy tourist ball cap, had been looking down, apparently engrossed in a brochure for the kitschy mermaid park nearby. He'd seemed harmlessly distracted, with a diaper bag tucked guy-style, like a football, beneath one arm. Waiting for his wife, she thought, and paying no heed to anyone else.
Or so it had seemed until the moment she'd passed and he was out of sight.
Her stomach plummeted when he ground out, "Into the car. Now. We'll have our little talk there, Special Agent."
Giving her a slight push, he propelled her not toward the nondescript stolen vehicle she might have expected but to a cherry-red Cadillac the size of the Queen Mary. The gas-sucking seventies engine rumbled, and she saw a sweaty-looking pale man with dark, reflective glasses slouched low behind the wheel.
Though shaded by a floppy beach hat, the driver's weak chin gave him away as one Garrett Smith, she realized, her heart constricting with the knowledge that that meant the man behind her, the fake dad with the weapon, was well prepared to use it--that he was the very fugitive she'd been so certain she had fooled into walking into their trap.
She blanched, wondering how long it had taken him to figure out she was FBI. And whether he meant to retaliate for her online masquerade and efforts to entrap him.
She sucked in a lungful of humid air, thinking of the slim-frame Glock in her inside waistband holster. But thinking, too, of the half-dozen civilians gathered at the nearby bus stop, the men and women on the sidewalk with their greasy sacks of sugary doughnuts and newspapers, or their lunches packed for a new workday.
For a split second her mind lost its purchase, allowing the memory of another nightmare to crash its way through to reality. The concussive blast, exactly where she'd ordered the tactical team to place its charges. The hot crimson slick spreading from beneath the collapsed wall.
The cigar store hostages in Iowa, whose lives she had been charged with saving. The hostages whose lives she'd blown away just two months ago...
The faint drawl of a West Texas accent yanked her ruthlessly back to the present.
"Make a move for that gun and this goes real bad in a hurry, Special Agent. I promise you, we're only talking. I swear it as an officer of the U.S. Army Rangers."
"An AWOL officer," she corrected, "on a mission your superiors never authorized and--"
"Let's go catch up with your mother, honey," Captain Rafe Lyons interrupted, his deep voice turning cheerful. "The little guy probably needs changing by now."
Adrenaline detonating in hot waves all through her, she couldn't wrap her brain around the shock of this game changer. Around the fact that rather than playing a crucial role in capturing the commando, she was the one being taken to his waiting car instead. Taken captive, possibly--or maybe to be killed before her thirtieth birthday, regardless of what he had just promised.
She could already hear the voices, the old guard bureau veterans at her funeral scoffing, If that girl was half the agent her old man was, she'd have fought her way free and dragged Lyons back in handcuffs. Could picture her older brother,...